Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Four Rivers Project: bring rivers to life with flowers, forests and more
The Four Major Rivers Restoration Project, for some, seems no different to any other reckless large-scale construction project. But wait till this autumn to see the wonders that will take place. Starting from October this year, the government will proceed with the master plan to re-scape the banks of the four rivers – Han, Yeongsan, Geum and Nakdong, turning them into new spaces for culture and art.
A total of 215 locations (929 kilometers in total) along the four rivers will be revamped according to the characteristics of each individual region. The revamping can be classified into three types: preserving the ecosystem, restoring the ecosystem or installing environment-friendly facilities. Recreational facilities will be not established in areas that are considered either a nature preservation or restoration district. Even in areas where such facilities are allowed, reckless constructions of motels and such will be banned.
The Geum River, that passes through Buyeo County, Cheongyang County and Gongju City, is where relics of the ancient Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. - A.D. 660) can be easily re-discovered. Naturally the river region will be remade in a way that highlights the historic sites of Baekje (Nakhwa-am Cliff, Buso Fortress and so on). Cheongyang County and Gongju City for their part will be turned into nature restoration districts. Birds like kestrels and spot-billed ducks will reside on the waterside, while dabchicks and goby minnows will swim in the water and mandarin ducks and stonechats will wander around the river sediment. The nearby forest, made up of pine trees and acacia trees will surround the dike. Willow trees and reeds along the river will help to purify the water.
Wetland will be fostered around the Geum River region in general. Plants that can purify water and absorb nitrogen and phosphorus will be planted around the river to keep the water as fresh as possible. The environment team will also encourage formation of habitats that could become home to many endangered species within the river. For humans there will be a waterside plaza, and a bird observation desk built to enjoy the scenery.
Yeongsan River, too, will be fixed up. The nature preservation and rehabilitation district linked with Hwangnyeong River will be preserved as it is, for the area already boasts beautiful nature and rich historical remains. Other areas located close to big cities like Gwangju will have environment-friendly recreational facilities set up such as a walking path, an eco-park, an eco-tour center, a ferry and a bicycle path.
The strictest nature preservation zone will be where the Yeongsan and Hwangnyeong Rivers meet. To protect fish and bird species, human access will be prohibited altogether. The wetland history and culture district will have facilities for activities at the waterside. The region around the main stream of the Yeongsan River has been so badly polluted and damaged that this will be designated a nature restoration district for immediate salvage projects.
Forests and waterways will come together to brighten up the waterside parks of the Han River. Where the Namhan (Southern Han) River flows will populated with recreational spaces like “Echo Stream,” “Neighborhood Tourism,” and “Nature Space,” all adding to the charm of the history and culture of the Yeoju region.
The Echo Stream refers to an open-style waterway that will be built to link the river’s ecosystem with that of the forest. Neighborhood Tourism will facilitate popular tourist sites of Yeoju (pottery village, royal tomb of King Sejong, Shinreuk-sa Buddhist Temple and more), while Nature Space will be at the forefront of restoring scenic sites around the area, taking care of old ferries and such.
The area designated as environment-friendly culture space will be planted with native trees like pine trees, yew trees, metasequoia and Korean king cherry trees that will later form a lovely path to walk around. A terrace garden on the other side will allow one to view beautiful flowers in each season.
Given its proximity to big cities, the Changnyeong and Haman districts along the Nakdong River region will open a culture complex for people to enjoy. As the region plays host to the rich inheritance of the ancient Gaya Kingdom (A.D. 42-532) the government intends to amplify that to foster more tourism.
The Nakdong River’s Gyeseong district will exclude all artificial elements and leave it as natural as possible for birds. It is frequented by many migratory birds -- including endangered species like kestrel and whooper swan – so the government plans to only encourage it further by creating additional sandy plain, gravelly field and other alternative habitats. Other homes will be made for native animals like leopard cats, black-spotted pond frogs and skygagers . Water reeds will be planted together with willow trees along the riverside, adding to the beauty of the region.